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Chapter 4 - Free to Inquire

The Evolution–Creationism Controversy as a Test Case in Equal Time and Free Speech

from Part I - The Advocatus Diaboli: Reflections on Free Thought and Free Speech

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2020

Michael Shermer
Affiliation:
Chapman University, California
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Summary

This article first appeared as a book chapter in the <italic>Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy</italic>, edited by David Boonin and published by Palgrave in 2018. I was tasked with finding a test case of freedom of speech and inquiry from the sciences, in the larger context of free speech issues as related to public policy and the law. I have already written extensively about evolution and creationism, most notably in my 1997 book <italic>Why People Believe Weird Things</italic> and my 2006 book <italic>Why Darwin Matters</italic>, so here I engage the creationist movement as a free speech issue inasmuch as its proponents hold a minority viewpoint as far as the scientific community is concerned. Nevertheless, I contend that they should be free to believe, teach (and preach) whatever they like about the origins and diversity of life, and that, in the well-trodden principle, sunlight is the best disinfectant (to which Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis added “electric light the most efficient policeman”).

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Giving the Devil his Due
Reflections of a Scientific Humanist
, pp. 44 - 54
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Free to Inquire
  • Michael Shermer, Chapman University, California
  • Book: Giving the Devil his Due
  • Online publication: 28 February 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108779395.005
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  • Free to Inquire
  • Michael Shermer, Chapman University, California
  • Book: Giving the Devil his Due
  • Online publication: 28 February 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108779395.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Free to Inquire
  • Michael Shermer, Chapman University, California
  • Book: Giving the Devil his Due
  • Online publication: 28 February 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108779395.005
Available formats
×